I was a junior in college with a major in Biology and pre-med in the fall of 2003, and by all accounts, I had everything going for me.
I was making good grades, set to graduate in two years and then head to medical school to complete my dream of becoming a doctor. I had a serious boyfriend I had been dating for a couple years. I had a great group of friends that I had met when I had joined my sorority my freshmen year in college. Plus, I had just turned 21, which, let’s face it, should be one of the best years of a gal’s life.
Everything changed, however, when I saw those two tiny blue lines one evening about three weeks after my 21st birthday.
For weeks I had wrestled with the “what-ifs” as I patiently waited for my period which never came. I hadn’t exactly been diligent when it came to my bc, but hey, who doesn’t mess that up once in a while, right? Girls like me didn’t become pregnant.
Or so I thought.
Nonetheless, I stared at the pregnancy test for what seemed like hours willing it to change. The first person I told was one of my best friends, who immediately came over and eagerly volunteered to take me to planned parenthood ASAP so we could sort this all out. My boyfriend was bartending that night, and when I called to tell him I may or may not be pregnant, I was met with silence on the other end.
The next day, I headed over to Planned Parenthood to find out my fate. I think I knew the truth all along but hearing someone else tell it to me absolutely broke me.
I cried harder than I’ve ever cried before, at which point the *nice* planned parenthood worker pushed some brochures over my direction about my options. I never realized I had options before, but suddenly I was afraid of those options! I knew what I wanted- to not be pregnant- but that didn’t really seem like a viable option at that point at time. I had always been pro-choice, but at that instant, I realized that that was just not an option for me.
Luckily, my boyfriend was very supportive. We talked about adoption but neither of us thought we could go through with it. So there we were, two scared kids, still in college, without any real jobs, about to have a baby. The thought terrified us, and honestly, we felt it was a hopeless situation. My parents are very religious so I didn’t know how they would react but I was pretty sure it would be badly. I also worried about how my sorority sisters would react. The last thing I wanted to do was to bring shame on them, and well, I felt ashamed.
For months we hid the pregnancy from everyone except our close friends. My parents eventually found out on their own (turns out trying to hide pre-natal vitamins in my suitcase was not such a smart idea), and we slowly told our friend, who were completely supportive and accepting to my surprise. I continued to attend college but dropped the amount of hours I was taking for the spring semester. My boyfriend and I moved in together, which was hard for my parents since we decided to wait to get married until after the baby was born.
On July 22nd, 2004, my life was forever changed as I brought Solomon into the world.
It was absolutely love at first sight. A year later, my boyfriend and I got married in front of all of our family and friends. Solomon was our ring bearer. Another year later, I graduated with my BS in Biology. My husband and I have now been married for 7 years and we have two more children, ages 5 and 11 months.
I won’t say that becoming a mother at such a young age was easy because that would be a lie.
My husband and I had to make many sacrifices that we weren’t expecting to make. I decided not to go to medical school, but instead went back to school and am now a R.N. You know that period right after you graduate college and start making your own money and can take lavish vacations and blow money on frivolous things?? Yeah, neither do we. We went from being broke college students to broke parents. I went through sort of a “quarter-life crisis” when I turned 25 when I realized that I was never going to have the life my friends had. Most of my friends are just now having their first child in fact. Most of them can’t believe I have three children at age 30. Most the time I have a hard time believing it myself.
The truth is being a young parent in today’s society is H.A.R.D.
For years I felt I couldn’t relate to most of my friends about some of the major things happening in my life. It took me years to even make any friends who were not only my age but had at least one child. I, too, was on WIC at one point and I, too, felt the shame of needing a little extra help. I still feel my cheeks get red when I have to explain to people why my wedding anniversary is a year after Solomon’s birthday, and I still wonder what I will tell Solomon when he gets older and puts things together about just when his mom and dad got married. And yes, the grocery store lady still gives me the stink eye when I roll through with all three kids (it’s even better when I forget to wear my wedding ring!). Being a young mom is tough and I sometimes wonder “what if”. I look at my children, though, and realize I don’t need to think “what if” because,my kids are pretty freakin awesome.
I don’t know what my life would be like if I hadn’t have had my kids early, but you know what?
I’m ok with that.